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Bristol's Entrepreneurial Thief?

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Laurence Dutton | The Image Bank | Getty Images

The big drug companies are all looking to increase their footprints in emerging markets like India. But a young Ph.D., top-talent employee at Bristol-Myers Squibb apparently wanted to plant the flag on his own in his native country.

Yesterday the feds charged 29-year-old Shalin Jhaveri with stealing trade secrets from BMY while working as a management trainee at the drugmaker's East Syracuse, NY facility. He allegedly did it to start a rival pharma firm in India that he planned to call, "Cherish Bio Sciences." He even went so far as to buy an internet domain name for it. You can read a detailed account of the intriguing case on the Syracuse paper's Web site.

Bristol makes biologics (generally speaking, liquid drugs) at the plant for commercial and clinical trial use. According to the criminal complaint, Jhaveri has confessed to taking part of the recipe for a cancer drug in early-stage tests. It's so premature that it's not even listed yet on the company Web site's drug development pipeline pageand is identified in the complaint only as "BMS-663513." Biopharma companies often refer to products in nascent development with letters and numbers.

But as I blogged last yearyou don't necessarily have to be on the inside to glean "trade secrets." Back then, I wrote that my lips were sealed, but since I think enough time has passed and there's a relevant and timely news peg now, I will disclose that it was an experimental drug from Bristol that I saw a PowerPoint presentation for on that long flight. In fact, coincidentally, it was for a drug that's made in East Syracuse.

I saw just enough to make out the name and purpose of the drug and to see some plans for getting the word out about it to pertinent physicians. I made only mental notes. And I certainly didn't do anything with the info except write a cautionary blog about it.

Jhaveri, on the other hand, allegedly downloaded millions of pages of documents and 1,327 of Bristol's "Standard Operating Procedures." He's looking at 10 years. His first court date is on Monday.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman